The Croatian Ministry of Defense has received the first Rafale multirole combat jet from the French government as part of a foreign military sale signed in 2021.
The aircraft was turned over at the Mont-de-Marsan Air Base and received by Croatian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj, Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banožić, and other government officials.
Croatia’s Rafale Fleet
The contract for the Rafale aircraft ordered 12 pre-owned aircraft from the French Air Force inventory.
The agreement covers the delivery of equipment, training, and additional spare parts over three years.
In May 2021, Croatia announced the selection of the French Rafale over used F-16 Fighting Falcons from the US and Israel, as well as JAS 39 Gripens from Sweden.
The acquisition supports a modernization program to replace the Croatian Air Force’s Soviet-built MiG-21, scheduled to retire next year.
More Aircraft to Follow
After delivery, Croatian aircrews will undergo flight and technical operations for the aircraft at an in-country training center.
Five more Rafales will be shipped to Croatia in the second quarter of 2024.
“These are 4.5+ generation Rafales that put us as a trusted NATO partner and an EU member in a position that we have had so far in other services,” Banožić stated a day before the handover.
“This new position will bring us new tasks, but also certain new values which we will further strive to develop with our allies and partners through donations and the continued modernization and equipping of all three services.”
Croatian Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Križanec added that capabilities supporting the arrival of future Rafales next year, including facilities and pilot simulators, are already organized.
“Everything will be ready as the development of the entire package of capabilities is going as planned. There are no delays and we haven’t exceeded the budget,” he said.
🇭🇷 Air Force received its first Rafale multi-purpose fighter jet following the transfer of ownership between the 🇫🇷 & 🇭🇷
“These will be the 4+gen aircraft that position us as credible NATO partners" Brig Gen Križanec
— NATO Air Command (@NATO_AIRCOM) October 3, 2023